Teaching Ethics via Sympathy

Given the specific educational, psychological, and sociological factors of juvenile inmates, I developed a course to teach such students moral concepts and reasoning without high level theorizing. I combined Hume’s account of sympathy with current philosophical and psychological research to develop the students’ natural sympathy as an aid in developing emotional, contextual, and moral literacy. In this paper, I explain (1) how the course developed the students’ natural sympathy, (2) how sympathy can provide a simple and familiar process of moral deliberation, (3) how sympathy aids in learning moral concepts, and (4) some interesting implications for public policy regarding moral education and recidivism, early childhood moral education, and teaching ethics courses generally
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DOI 10.5840/ijap20092314
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Rico Vitz (2004). Sympathy and Benevolence in Hume's Moral Psychology. Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (3):261-275.
Mark Collier (2010). Hume's Theory of Moral Imagination. History of Philosophy Quarterly 27 (3):255-273.
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